This classification refers to establishments primarily engaged in rolling, drawing, and other operations resulting in the production of aluminum ingot including extrusion ingot, and aluminum and aluminum-base alloy basic shapes, not elsewhere classified, such as rolled and continuous cast rod and bar. Establishments primarily engaged in producing aluminum powder, flake, and paste are classified in SIC 3399: Primary Metal Products, Not Elsewhere Classified, and those producing aluminum wire and cable from purchased wire bars, rods, or wire are classified in SIC 3357: Drawing and Insulating of Nonferrous Wire.
331319 (Other Aluminum Rolling and Drawing)
Overall, the domestic aluminum industry struggled with waning industry shipments in the late 1990s and early 2000s. According to the Aluminum Association, a global surplus of 558,000 metric tons of primary aluminum was expected to exist by 2003. Although the U.S. was expected to trim smelting capacity in 2003, global aluminum production was predicted to grow by 2.8 percent, and global consumption was predicted to increase by 3.4 percent to nearly 20.5 million metric tons.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 20 establishments operated in this category at the onset of the twenty-first century. Industry-wide employment totaled 4,153 workers receiving a combined payroll of more than $142 million. Of these employees, 3,272 worked in production, putting in more than six million hours to earn wages of more than $99 million. Overall shipments for the industry were valued at more than $1.5 billion in 2001.
Aluminum rod, bar, and wire products are often grouped together in a single product category. Wire is made from rod or bar, and by definition is less than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, while rod and bar are generally thicker. Electrical transmission lines represent the major end-use of rod/bar/wire products, but they are also used to make rivets, nails, screws, and bolts, and parts of machinery and equipment.
Houston, Texas-based Quanex Corp. lead the industry with sales of almost $1.03 billion for the fiscal year ending October 31, 2003. Also based in Houston, Texas, MAXXAM Inc. posted 2003 revenues of $336 million, which reflected an almost 25 percent decline from the previous year. Another leading player was the Essex Group Inc. of Fort Wayne, Indiana, which operated as a subsidiary of Superior TeleCom Inc. until that firm filed bankruptcy in 2003. Two other industry leaders in the late 1990s had included Reynolds Metals Co. Metals Div. of Richmond, Virginia, and Alcoa Building Products of Sidney, Ohio. However, these entities were merged when Alcoa Inc., the largest producer of aluminum in the world, acquired Reynolds Metals Co., the second-largest U.S. aluminum manufacturer, for $4.36 billion in 2000.
Rod, bar, and wire production slumped during the late 1980s and early 1990s. According to the Aluminum Association, rod, bar, and wire shipments fell 0.7 percent during 1996 to 551 million pounds, representing 3 percent of all aluminum industry shipments. In general, aluminum wire dominates the electrical transmission and distribution market, with copper a distant second. During the 1980s, however, demand for electrical transmission lines fell, as new construction was lackluster and electricity usage remained flat. Furthermore, use of aluminum wire in buildings fell sharply in the 1980s. In the mid- 1970s, aluminum had a 31 percent share of this market, but following the publicity of the hazards of aluminum wire, its share dwindled to 8 percent in 1994. Several of the major aluminum companies thus elected to retreat from the electrical conductor market. In 1994 and 1995, however, there was a recovery in demand for rod, bar, and wire products. Larger shipments to the transmission and distribution sector were a result of increased housing starts and the need to upgrade existing systems. Some producers have moved to expand their plants.
Demand for rolled aluminum rod and bar increased throughout the late 1990s, and the value of shipments for this sector reflected those gains, growing from $410.2 million in 1998 to $490.5 million in 2000. However, the value of shipments declined to $370.5 million in 2001 as the U.S. economy, particularly the manufacturing sector, slumped. Rolled aluminum rod and bar accounted for 24.1 percent of total industry shipments in 2001. Aluminum and aluminum-base alloy wire and cable, which accounted for 25.4 percent of industry shipments in 2001, followed a similar pattern of growth in the late 1990s. The value of wire shipments increased from $486.9 million in 1997 to $500.5 million in 2000, before falling to $390.9 million in 2001.
"Alcoa Achieves Merger with Reynolds." Aluminum Today, June 2000.
Aluminum Association Inc. "Key Trends for Aluminum Business." 3 November 2003. Available from http://www.aluminum.org/ .
Infotrac Company Profiles. 28 January 2000. Available from http://web4.infotrac.galegroup.com .
U.S. Census Bureau. 1997 Economic Census—Manufacturing, 10 February 2000. Available from http://www.census.gov/prod/ec97/97m3313f.pdf .
U.S. Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industry Groups and Industries: 2000." February 2002. Available from http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/m00as-1.pdf .
——. "Value of Shipments for Product Classes: 2001 and Earlier Years." December 2002. Available from http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/m01as-2.pdf .